Thursday, September 22, 2016

Remodeled Kitchen and Butler’s Pantry Reveal

I’ve been missing in action for a while and after you see our new kitchen and butler’s pantry you’ll know why I've been very, very busy putting the contents of the kitchen back into order. Not only did we have to move back into the kitchen, but at the same time, we’ve had to merge our North Carolina kitchen “stuff” with our Florida stuff. Take my word for it, it is not easy nor is it quickly done to blend together two completely furnished kitchens. Thank you for your patience and for sticking with me through it all.
For better viewing, click photos to enlarge.

Here are the results of our remodeling. You’ll see that one wall of cabinets and the pantry are a grey wash (see photo above) and the remainder of the kitchen cabinets are white. You probably can’t tell it in this shot, but the refrigerator is “counter depth” - making it is much more attractive than a normal refrigerator that would stick out in the walkway.

The entire kitchen upper cabinets have the latest ultra-modern 12 V LED Under Cabinet Tape lights, link here, and strategically placed LED ceiling can lights, all on dimmers. The china cabinet has glass shelves and a light  in the cabinet that shines down on the plates.

You may remember that the top cabinets in our original kitchen blocked the view into the den (see the photo below the Kitchen Aid storage), which made the kitchen seem small and cramped. Now the kitchen opens up into the adjoining den and the cramped feeling is now completely gone. Also in this same area is a lower cabinet that contains a pop-up Kitchen Aid stand mixer and another pull out for separate garbage containers, one for trash and the other for recycling.

Below is the original kitchen layout, looking into the den.

Original kitchen

One of the main reasons we bought this house was because it was light and bright and we loved the idea of doing prep work at the sink while enjoying the view of the lanai and pool area.

The new sink is a Silgranit sink by Blanco. We chose it because it is made of an ultra durable patented formula that makes the sink resistant to heat, scratches, stains, chipping and fading. Plus no harsh chemicals are needed to keep the sink clean day-to-day, promoting a green lifestyle.

We installed two new Miami-Dade approved hurricane glass sliders. After the cost of the cabinets, the two new doors were the second largest expense of the project, but well worth every penny if you live in a hurricane area.

The picture below show the layout of the original 1970’s kitchen. Kitchens of that era often had unattractive drop-down ceiling, which was the rage at the time. The drop-down ceiling was eye-sore and now that it’s gone and I say good riddance. The new ceiling and upper cabinets are higher throughout the kitchen. You’ll notice that the original lay-out was crowded and awkward with the refrigerator directly across from the stove. That passage way so narrow that if anyone was working at the stove and you wished to pass, you had to say “excuse me” to fit through.

Original Kitchen Layout
You’ll see that we changed the lay-out of the kitchen, moving the stove to the spot where the refrigerator was and the refrigerator is now out of the way and located between the coffee bar and the tall pantry.

The counters are Quartz, which are practically indestructible, plus we are thrilled that they look as close to marble as we could find and they go very well with the marble backsplash subway tiles. The new louvered pocket door opens into the dining room, replacing an ugly plain pocket one. The stove is a duel fuel stove (gas on top with an electric oven), which we liked in our house in the mountains, plus a microwave convection oven above with a vent-out exhaust fan. The vent-out exhaust fan is amazing. As an example, when the burners start to produce a lot of heat, the vent comes on automatically.

One of our main goals for the kitchen was to provide a lot of storage that was easily accessible. Above you’ll notice two deep drawers on both side of the stove for pots and pans, located conveniently to where they’ll be used.

Below is a large pantry with pull-out drawers located to the right of the refrigerator. It’s wonderful to be able to see all of the pantry items when you pull out the drawers. No more having to move what’s in the front of the cabinet to see what’s in the rear. I wonder how many times in the past that I’ve bought an item because I couldn’t see and thought I was out of it and come home to find it when I returned from the store.

Here are just two examples of the many deep drawers we've wanted in our kitchen for so many years. The first drawer contains a standard Cuisinart and its blades, plus a mini Cuisinart, a variety of au gratin dishes, an egg poacher, and two sizes of kitchen scales.

The second one has plenty of storage for a mixer, 2  Immersion Blenders, a mandolin, an assortment of glass nesting mixing bowls, a cheese grater and several pie plates.

Above the refrigerator, as you can see below, is ample storage for sheet pans in two sizes, trays, spring form pan and muffin tins, extra cutting boards, and china serving platters.

And finally, something that we’ve wanted for a very long time and my personal favorite thing in the new kitchen – a built-in spice rack. It was built-in between two by fours, out of the way yet very convenient.

Now on to the Butler’s Pantry where the old bar and laundry room were. Below is the entry coming in from the garage. As you can see the room is long and narrow, making it hard to photograph, but here goes.

I call it a butler’s pantry because it’s a multi-purpose room – a laundry area is at one end with a front loader washer and dryer and plenty of storage space in upper cabinets. A long counter above the machines connects the laundry to the remainder of the room. At the other end is a bar with a built-in wine cooler with temperature controls for white and red wine. Above the bar the upper cabinets have glass shelves with built-in lighting shining down on the  contents. These cabinets provide a place for glass wear and the good china. This room, like the kitchen, has the recessed LED can lighting in the ceiling and 12 V LED Under Cabinet Tape lights, all on dimmers.

Again again as in the kitchen, more really nice drawers. One set, right under the bar area, behind the two cabinet doors has a custom built bottle storage drawer. The drawers have custom made dividers so prevents the bottles from clinking together and leaning on each other.

The two photos below show the area we originally had used for a bar  and the original laundry room. As you can see, it was a long room, divided by a sliding door, separating the laundry room from the area we used as a bar. You can see how unattractive they were.

Original bar and laundry room

The remodeling in this area posed a real challenge – specifically how to replace the tiles that will be missing when the pocket door is torn out. Our super-talented and detailed minded tile mason was able to find tiles so close to the original that you wouldn’t notice the difference unless we pointed it out.

Original laundry room and bar 

Our project came in on time and on budget, a rarity in the remodeling world. I give all of the credit to my husband Meakin, who acted as the General Contractor of the job and by doing so saved us at least 20% of the cost of the total project.

We have owned many houses over the years and have improved every one. That and the fact that we built one of our Bahamas houses on our own gave us a good feeling about our ability to tackle this project.

Meakin did a fantastic job of coordinating the various sub-contractor’s schedules with regard to timing. He also pulled all of the necessary permits for the job himself and worked very closely with the County, scheduling and supervising the various inspections, then made sure that any corrections or changes needed were completed, which gave the County Inspectors a good feeling about the whole job. Meakin had fun and the results were beautiful.

We owe a huge thank you to Owen Thompson, owner and designer of Accurate Kitchens and Baths in Fort Myers, Florida. Without his knowledge, experience and good taste, our kitchen would have never turned out as beautiful as it did. Owen’s installation crew are the ones that built the custom spice rack in the kitchen and the wooden dividers for the drawer in the butler’s pantry that house the liquor. Owen recommended that we use a group of talented tradesmen with whom he has worked with in the past and he was familiar with their skill levels and ability to work together.

We’ve remodeled numerous houses over the years and I have to say this was the most successful job we’ve ever completed and it’s all is due to how well everyone worked together as a team.

For better viewing, click photos to enlarge.